To determine the population size of the cranes in Hokkaido, we carry out
a census every winter.
The first census was conducted by the Hokkaido government in 1952. The
census, involving local school children, has been a great success and has
been carried out annually.
We have been conducting an independent census annually since 1985. Our
aim is to carry out a comprehensive and consistent census.
Why in winter?
The cranes spend the winter months in small groups to large flocks (of
more than a hundred birds) at feeding stations and other areas where it
is relatively easy for us to observe birds.
Birds in a flock seldom stand still for a long enough time. Moreover, some
birds may arrive or fly away during a census of a flock.
During the census, volunteers stand in snow in subzero temperatures all
Participating in the census is a great way to get to know the cranes. During
the census, one is likely to witness graceful dances and other interesting
behaviors of the cranes.
We are able to continue our winter census because of our dedicated volunteers.
If you are interested in participating, please contact us.
The census provides vital information for planning conservation actions.
The red-crowned crane is one of a small handful of wildlife species in
Japan for which there are reasonably accurate estimates of population size
over many years. With the accurate estimates of the population size, we
are able to make effective plans for conservation of the species.